Promising findings from a study on the effect of long-term buprenorphine use for opioid use disorder

“Findings from this study and previous clinical trials of long-acting, injectable formulations of buprenorphine for opioid use disorder have shown this medication can decrease opioid use and opioid-related overdose deaths. This study found that greater utilization of this medication was associated with less opioid use and higher probability of opioid abstinence, improved or maintained low levels of opioid withdrawal symptoms, low pain levels, improved or maintained positive health related quality of life outcomes, minimal depression, and higher employment rates as compared to the values observed prior to entering the clinical trials for long-acting, injectable buprenorphine that preceded this study. At the same time, these findings should be taken in context. Because of the way this study was structured, it can’t be known what portion of these positive outcomes were driven by medication effects, versus participants’ intrinsic motivation, or other factors. This however does not diminish the growing evidence base highlighting benefits of long-acting, injectable formulations of buprenorphine. This class of medications can help support opioid use disorder recovery as a stand-alone treatment, but may be most effective when used in combination with psychological treatments like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and/or mutual-help groups like Narcotics Anonymous or SMART Recovery.”